IT COMES IN TIDES AND OTHER POEMS, by Joseph Roccasalvo, showcases a striking talent for the formal style in poetry. The collection is masterful for employing rhyme, meter, and the wordplay of puns and paradox. In the celebration of the highs and lows of romance and abiding friendship, the poems are subtle and emotional, complex but always comprehensible. They are so rhythmic that the image of tides hitting a shoreline best describes them. They share the gift for point and counterpoint in their musical precision. The playful wit, conspicuous in the love poems, captivates the astute reader. IT COMES IN TIDES AND OTHER POEMS will inspire both poets and lovers who have a zest for romance in rhyme and meter.
- The reason this collection should be a book is that a reader like me wants to consult and delight in the poems again and again. I have two bookcases of poetry books, but only a shelf of favorite fiction for that reason. I love your poetry. Nearly every one feels priceless.“Dilemma,” and “ Ensemble” are my last two jolts from your collection of poems. Having the book is practical. I can take one poem to heart, put aside the collection, take it up on the morrow. It feels as though reading the poems will make a difference in my life. It takes much to ask therapy of poetry, but the shimmer of your words and thoughts creates the illusion. Keep writing the unexpected for which thinking people thirst.
- Thank you for the gift of these beautiful poems. I think “Comfort Zone” is your best yet. A finely tuned marriage of meter and rhyme, sustained metaphor throughout, a tone both soft and ironic. The last line really sings: “The finite immortality of art.” A line worthy of Emily Dickinson. “Liquid Gold” nails the hope of finding meaning in the aging body. “ . . . dessert wine is prompted by noble rot” is brilliant. That is the challenge: to find the beauty that comes from the inevitable shriveling and pruning. Your parallel to art is an apt one—it’s the pruning of a poem that lets it shine. As in art, so in life. The poems on friendship, the waxing and waning of love, reveal a generous and romantic soul. I love seeing the poems collected, and echoing their themes of love and loss. Your poems are a “keepsake” and I will keep them in my heart, for the sake of friendship, for the love of art.
- What a thought-provoking, reflective, thoroughly absorbing collection of poems. I took my time reading them in the first section, only to realize how connected they were. They are perfect for this retirement time in my life, for things to ponder. I did see elements of the Jesuit examen which delighted me, as well as Emperor Hadrian’s full last speech. What are my favorites, you might ask? They change on every rereading. Today it’s “Polyglot Buddhism,” “Dilemna,”and “A Four Room Suite.” Your Jeux D’Esprit were an additional pleasure. “At a Loss” was shocking and I laughed out loud at “Longevity.” Thank you, thank you for another Rocasalvo gem to add to my collection to read and reread.